Do you ever feel like when it’s summertime you’re somehow obligated to be in a good mood?
Everyone else seems to be in their element, frolicking through sprinklers and stretching out on beach blankets, so why aren’t you? The common refrain when you have the blues on a summer day is, “Well at least it’s sunny out…” It’s as if when the sun is shining we should feel guilty if we’re feeling, well, dim.
It seems perfectly acceptable to feel down in the dark of winter, with its barren landscapes and long nights. But what if you thrive with your cozy sweaters and steaming mugs? Or maybe you look forward to summer all year long, nostalgic for fireworks, freedom, and endless days, only to find that your “normal” obligations continue without a break. And then, of course, there are times when your mood has absolutely nothing to do with the season or the weather. Feeling down isn’t something you can always explain or reason away.
However you’re feeling, it’s easy to buy into the idea that when it’s sunny outside you should be in a good mood. Or if your summer isn’t all beaches and BBQs, you’re somehow doing it wrong. Since telling people that you aren’t into summer can be like telling them you don’t like puppies, you may find yourself faking it. Then you’re sunny on the outside and cloudy on the inside—acting like you’re happy even when you’re not.
Suppressing our emotions isn’t healthy, but is the alternative planting a flag, saying “I don’t feel happy,” and doubling down on it? What is the balance between honoring how we feel and wallowing in it? Yoga offers an interesting alternative known as Pratipaksha Bhavana or Cultivating the Opposite. It’s a practice of consciously leaning into the opposite of how we feel, of reframing our perceptions of situations, and thus the emotional reactions that stem from them.
Can’t stand the humidity? Think about something you do love in your life right now. Feeling constricted by your nine-to-five? Consider the ways your job actually provides you some freedom. It’s not about denying your problems, just trying out a different perspective to see how it feels. At the very least, it can help you feel more in control of your situation. And if Pratipaksha Bhavana doesn’t turn your clouds into sunshine, that’s okay too. Just like the seasons and the weather, your emotions and your moods will shift with time.
Tired of faking it? We put together a collection of classes that will welcome you just as you are, bad mood and all.
Flow Through Sadness: https://bit.ly/33YmgAK
Open Your Heart: https://bit.ly/2Z9lW3f
Allow Your Innate Inner Brightness to Shine: https://bit.ly/2KQd21A
Shine from the Inside Out: https://bit.ly/2PaXKZw
Release Sadness: https://bit.ly/2MGVQOz